Let’s Talk Lifestyle

Modeled on the success of iconic brands like Tory Burch,Jonathan Adler and Kate Spade, a number of new lifestyle brands are on the rise introducing handbags, beauty, stationary, gifts, candles and even home furnishings to their assortments. Some lifestyle brands proudly boast how awesome they are, while others are coy and alluring with a minimalistic marketing approach - take Vince for example. All lifestyle brands hinge on aspirational marketing, they want to be the good in your life. Lifestyle brands take you to the place you want to go or make you the celebrity/athlete/philanthropist/rich person you want to be. So when you’ve had a bad day, but don’t have time to whisk yourself away to the Caribbean this afternoon, you can throw on a Lily Pulitzer dress, lean back on a Zoo Party pillow and sip tea from a Lily’s All Nighter tumbler that you pulled from your Lily’s Let’sCha Cha beach tote . This all may seem like a big expense for an afternoon of joy... until you compare it to an actual Caribbean vacation.

image
image

I had to mention Lily Pulitzer first because it is one of the original lifestyle brands from an iconic woman who literally had a life of style. I mean who doesn’t want to spend their days tapping into their inner 1950’s Palm Beach socialite?

Let’s talk Toms… is it considered a Lifestyle Brand? If you buy your Tom’s shoes at Whole Foods along with apples and dinner, you may think not. But if you’ve been to the Tom’s store in Venice Beach, CA, or Austin, TX, you’d go with yes. Coffee and kicks sold at the same location? Genius. A coffee shop and retail store effortlessly fused into one.

image (1)
image (1)

Tom’s effortlessly reaches the feel-good side of consumers. They started with the one-for-you, one-for-charity shoe policy. Then they super-sized their giving to become the Mother Teresa of all brands. They now tout the ability to give shoes to barefoot kids, give access to safe drinking water, provide safer births, prevent bullying and give eyesight (eyesight? Yes, you read that right). So you’re not just buying a pair of fabulous wedges, you’re in the trenches, giving water to kids in Rwanda, providing shoes to barefoot kids in rural Tennessee and somehow putting the smackdown on a vicious bully. Wow, I actually feel like a schmuck for not buying any Toms today. So, yes, I consider them a lifestyle brand. They don't tap into your sense of glamour or luxury, but rather your sense of karma and justice.

Of course there are lots of new lifestyle brands popping up. Ones to watch: Reese Witherspoon’s company,  Draper James taps into the celebrity endorsed branding as well as free-spirited Southern gal lifestyle. And their stuff is adorable, so that helps.  And if you need feel-good shopping, their website vaguely talks about giving back to Girls Inc.

image (2)
image (2)

It seems every mall I go to has a new Vineyard Vines. What started out as two brothers selling ties has turned their brand into a "whale" of a retail operation. Vince. The iconic brand was founded in LA. This is one of those coy yet alluring brands I mentioned earlier.

image (3)
image (3)

And the #1 lifestyle brand to watch:

image (4)
image (4)

India Hicks - Company started by former model and now Bahama based mom of five. That one sentence is enough to create intrigue and lifestyle marketability but I must share more of the story directly from their website:

"India was born in London, England, and comes from both British and design royalty. Her father was famed interior decorator David Hicks, and her mother is Lady Pamela Hicks, whose father was the last viceroy of India, hence India’s name."

But wait, there's more...

"Her godfather is the Prince of Wales and India was a bridesmaid at his wedding to Lady Diana."

She was in Lady Di's wedding!!! Stop it. Just stop. There can't be anything more impressive than that!

Oh wait, yes there is...

"After graduating from the New England School of photography, she was hired by Ralph Lauren for her first modeling job."

And a Ralph Lauren model! Is there anything else more brandmazing than that? Of course...

"India lives on a small island in the Bahamas, with her partner and their five children. She has produced three lifestyle books and designed collections of bath & beauty products, bedding and jewelry in partnership with others, but realized the time had come to build a company on her own terms. Alongside two strong business minded partners she launched her lifestyle brand: India Hicks. These collections are sold through networks of other entrepreneurial women, at home or one-to-one. Unencumbered by tradition, India has made bold life choices that inspire women to join her in the pursuit of an extraordinary life."

I had to share those paragraphs because they embody lifestyle branding perfection. The brand is a person, a heritage and a place combined to create a clearly defined brand that will probably see great success.

The bottom line on lifestyle brands. If you you have the time and can afford to travel the world while saving it in the process, do it. If you can’t, buy some things that make you feel like you did.